Industrial Production Jumps Much Higher Than Expected

Factory worker and engineer doing inspection.
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U.S. industrial production rose 0.9 percent in January, data from the Federal Reserve showed Wednesday.

This marked the fourth consecutive monthly gain and exceeded Wall Street expectations of a 0.5 percent gain.

Manufacturing output rose 1 percent in January, an acceleration from the 0.9 percent gain in the prior month. That is twice as much as expected.

Production of motor vehicles fell seven-tenths of a percent in January. Output was held back by the global shortage of semiconductors, the Fed said. Automaker output fell in December as well.

Mining output, which includes oil and gas, jumped 2.3 percent as fuel prices began to rise. Utility production fell 1.2 percent.

Capacity utilization rose to 75.6 perecnt in January from 74.9 in December, also much better than expected.

The better-than-expected industrial production figures come as other data indicate that retail sales were surprisingly strong in January and inflation rose by more than expected.

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